NSF Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) is a supplemental funding opportunity that provides graduate students supported by NSF grants with internship and training opportunities at non-academic institutions to help students gain knowledge, skills, and experience in preparation for successful long-term careers. Read the full opportunity here.

  • NSF will consider supplemental funding requests for up to an additional six months of graduate student support on active NSF grants with the following goals:
    1. To provide graduate students with the opportunity to augment their research assistantships or NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) fellowships with non-academic research internship activities and training opportunities that will complement their academic research training;
    2. To allow graduate students to pursue new activities aimed at acquiring professional development experience that will enhance their preparation for multiple career pathways after graduation; and
    3. To encourage the participation of graduate students from underrepresented groups such as women, persons with disabilities, underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), veterans, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.


  • To be eligible, graduate students must have completed at least one academic year in their graduate programs (master’s or doctoral) and be making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degrees.
  • Either be working under a PI with an NSF grant OR be a current NSF Graduate Research Program Fellow.
  • GRFP Fellows must be active, either “on tenure” or “on reserve” during the entire period of the proposed internship.
    • If a Fellow is “on tenure” no stipend or tuition can be requested as part of the budget.
    • If a Fellow is “on reserve” funds for stipend and tuition during the interval of the internship will be considered.  The maximum stipend that will be considered is 2,833/month.

Activities Supported

The PI/co-PI of an active NSF award may request supplemental funding for one or more graduate students to gain knowledge, skills and experiences that will augment their preparation for a successful long-term career through an internship in a non-academic setting, including the following:

  • For-profit industry laboratories or industry research and development groups;
  • Start-up businesses, such as (but not limited to) those funded through the NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program;
  • Government agencies (all levels) and National Laboratories;
  • Museums, science centers, and other informal learning settings;
  • Policy think-tanks; and
  • Non-profit organizations.

It is expected that the internship will be research-focused in a STEM field or in STEM education research and will be on-site at the host organization unless a specific exception to this is granted due to extenuating circumstances by the cognizant program officer.

Award Details

  • NSF plans to fund approximately 260 proposals in 2021
  • Funding requested cannot exceed $55,000 per student, per 6-month period
  • Allowable costs:
    • Travel
    • Tuition and fees
    • Health insurance 
    • Additional stipend
    • Temporary relocation costs
  • Tuition and fees will be considered only for the time of the internship

Submission Process and Deadline

  • March 29, 2022: Submit supplemental funding requests to Graduate Division.
  • April 15: NSF’s target date for each fiscal year. The Graduate Division will submit vetted applications by this date. 

Expect the review and processing for an INTERN proposal to take at least seven months. Carefully review the application components and instructions.

Apply Here

Sign-in to CampusGroups with our UCI credentials to submit your application: https://cglink.me/2eo/s50482


Pre-Application: Questions about applying to NSF Intern can be directed to Dr. Kayleigh Anderson-Natale at kayleiga@uci.edu. 

Post-Application: Questions on the status of your application can be directed to Sonia Lepe at slepe1@uci.edu.

Application Components


A 2-page summary that describes the internship.

The request must include a concise statement from the graduate student describing how the activity will better prepare the graduate student to enter the workforce.

Resume (up to 2 pages)

Resume contains (but not limited to) the following information: 

  1. Educational Preparation
  2. Summary of graduate coursework completed
  3. Professional employment history
  4. Publications
  5. Other information relevant to the proposed internship

A letter of collaboration from host organization

A letter of collaboration from an authorized official at the organization which will host the student that describes

  • the internship opportunity and 
  • the mentoring that will be provided to the student during the internship. 
  • This letter should include a statement confirming that neither the graduate student nor the PI has a financial interest in the organization hosting the internship.

A letter from the PI (Dean Gillian Hayes)

A letter from the PI (Dean Hayes) that confirms that the student meets the eligibility requirements specified in this DCL. The letter must describe 

  • how the proposed internship activity will contribute to the student’s graduate education experience and 
  • how it may impact time to degree. 
  • The PI must describe activities that are synergistic with the scope of the PI’s NSF Grant to be supplemented.

NSF awardee and host organization Agreement

The NSF awardee and the organization hosting the graduate student must agree in advance as to how intellectual property (IP) rights will be handled. 

  • A signed agreement on IP (including publication and patent rights) must be submitted prior to the award of the supplemental funding. 
  • NSF is responsible neither for the agreement reached nor the IP information exchanged between the NSF awardee and the host organization.



A budget and a clear justification for all requested budget costs. 

  • Include the proposed internship start and end date in the budget justification. 
  • The amounts for each budget line item requested must be documented and justified in the budget justification as outlined in the NSF PAPPG.
  • The budget should incorporate indirect costs in accordance with UCI’s approved/negotiated indirect cost rate.

Contact your department’s budget advisor for support and approval.

  • ICS: Mark Gardiner, mgardine@uci.edu
  • Social Sciences: Holly Hapke, hhapke@uci.edu
  • School of Biological Sciences: Megan Vu, vum@uci.edu
  • School of Education: Dylan Pham Le, dylanle@uci.edu
  • School of Engineering: Kimberly Kruse, kmkruse@uci.edu
  • School of Physical Sciences: Helen Chen, chenhc@uci.edu (to get information for your specific departments)
  • School of Medicine: Reach out to your department for specific contact information. Additional assistance identifying help can be directed to Leora Fellus, lfellus@uci.edu